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Partners in Learning - Lewisham
Written by Graham Brown-Martin on Wednesday, 28 May 2008
Handheld LearningI was recently invited to attend the final workshop of some impressive work conducted in my home borough of Lewisham that was part of the Black Pupils Achievement Programme (BPAP). Since last November mobile technology was introduced into the scheme to explore family learning and access.

BPAP is a scheme that was introduced in October 2005 by Andrew Adonis, the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Schools and Learners, aimed to increase success among Black pupils through a tailored leadership and management strategy intended to boost effective teaching and learning, tackle poor behaviour and bullying, introduce mentoring and increase involvement of parents.

The Lewisham BPAP has been regarded as one of the most innovative local responses to this national strategy where 160 pupils from 10 schools in the authority have been tracked through the past 3 years in secondary education leading to their GCSE's. In most schools pupils are attaining above their school and local authority average for all pupils

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Derek Robertson - Hero Innovator
Written by Graham Brown-Martin on Sunday, 23 March 2008
Derek Evaluating game-based learning.

With the Byron Review, that looks into the influence of videogames on children - led by child psychologist Dr Tanya Byron, about to be published it seemed apt that we should kick off our hero innovator series with Derek Robertson of the Consolarium, Learning & Teaching Scotland.

By kind invitation I headed North to Aberdeen to visit two primary schools and a teachers training session. Having followed Derek's work and ideas for the past 2 years I had expected to be impressed but what I experienced, and hope I've gone some way to capturing, was something bordering on an epiphany.

Derek and the Consolarium initiative are studying whether learning could be dramatically enhanced by using the kind of technologies and experiences that are already a part of many young learners lives. The Consolarium is manufacturer independent, receiving no industry sponsorship and purchases all the devices and software used themselves. Derek informs me that he believes this is a critical factor in the work that the Consolarium is engaged given that platforms typically wax and wane in their popularity. The only guidance is what learners are already using and the relevance of the software. Technology platforms used include Nintendo DS and Wii, Sony PSP and PlayStation, Xbox as well as mobile phones.

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